Save and Invest Now For a Better Future

Save and Invest Now For a Better Future
Save and Invest Now For a Better Future

The average American has little to no money saved in the bank and lives paycheck to paycheck. Personal savings is important to help people to make big purchases without paying interest, to deal with unexpected expenses and to survive an unexpected job loss. As April is Financial Literacy Month, there is no better time to start saving than now.

Financial Education

For decades, schools spent little time teaching students about money. However, in recent years, personal finance classes have become more common in schools across the country. Some states are even mandating personal finance as a required class before a student qualifies to graduate from high school. Whether a person is a student or is already out of school, there are many sources of information available to learn money skills. Just a little effort can make a big difference in improving a person’s financial understanding.

Simplified Savings

Modern technology can play a role in making it easier to save. Most employers require paychecks to be direct deposited into an employee’s account. The direct deposit system makes it easy for people to have a portion of their paychecks put into a savings account. Online banking, saving and investing apps and electronic fund transfers have made it easier than ever for people to save and invest for the future. However, all the technology that exists can’t make decisions for people. People need to act to use the technology that is available to start saving money for the future. 

Retirement Investment

In one form or another, retirement savings accounts are available to everyone. Most employees have access to 401k accounts and IRA accounts are available to almost anyone with taxable income. Most people believe they do not have the money to start saving for retirement. However, with careful budgeting, most everyone could start saving for retirement. Retirement savings are especially important for those whose employer match contributions. The employer match is basically free money and anyone eligible for a match should take advantage of it.

The public education system has not done a good job of teaching personal finance and related skills. Hopefully the education problem will get better in the coming years. However, it is never too late to learn. There are many sources of financial education available online and off to help people of any age to learn about managing money. By taking the time to learn about budgeting and investing, people can learn to better handle their money so that they can plan for their financial future, avoid financial struggles and have a comfortable retirement.

The 5 worst pieces of financial advice that will cost you time, money and sanity.

The 5 worst pieces of financial advice that will cost you time, money and sanity.

There are many different times that we hear pieces of financial advice that are supposed to help you get to the next level of your fiscal life. It is important to take a lot of these tips with a grain of salt. There are actually some pieces of advice that will hurt you in the long run. Understanding that you are not going to have the best advice financially from everyone will help you be more cautious with the financial advice that is being given to you.

Fresh air will save you money on cooling your home 

When someone tells you to just open your windows instead of turning on your air conditioning, they are helping you waste money instead of saving it. When it is too warm outside, you are not going to have the wind cooling power you need to make it cost effective. Instead, your home will simply just be getting warmer and warmer as the day goes on. 

Try to win money in contests 

If you are constantly spending time and energy trying to win money in contests, you are going to be let down. Your time can be better spent furthering your education, advancing in your career, or starting your own business. If you are constantly trying to win money on radio shows and giveaways, you will find that you will not have much of a return for your time investment. Instead, try building a future for yourself that you can be proud of. 

Go ahead and write a book 

Anyone who is telling you to write in order to create a passive income stream has probably never written or published a book. Having a book that makes you passive income while you sleep is just about as likely as becoming a rockstar. While it is possible, it is very unlikely that it will happen to you. 

Getting too into self-help books 

Self-help books and seminars can be a great way for you to learn more about business and yourself while getting the hype you need to really take action. However, there are times when it can just be too much. You need to make sure that you aren’t getting too into the type of self-help obsession that will keep you from ever taking real action. It is easier for you to actually go out in the world and make things happen when you aren’t too busy watching inspirational YouTube videos or reading books all day long. 

Always hang onto your loose change 

Hanging onto your loose change is a very insignificant way of saving up a substantial amount of money. Instead, you can use apps or programs that will help you round up credit card transactions and turn that loose change into investments. Only using cards will also be a better way for you to track all of your purchases. 

Learning different ways to save and manage your money can make a big difference. Instead of trying to scrimp and save, you will have strategies that will help take your business to a whole new level.

Why Marketers Need to Understand Finance

Why Marketers Need to Understand Finance

The conventional wisdom in business is to promote good coherence between all departments in an organization. For some reason, businesses tend to run into problems when it comes to the finance department. This often comes down to communication breakdowns between the marketing and finance departments. The problem is often due to a difference between the language each department uses and goals that might seem to be at odds with each other.

Marketing professionals are concerned with understanding customer perceptions about the business, and they’re willing to pay whatever is necessary to increase the company’s perceived value to the public. The finance department is tasked with delivering marketing goals while maintaining the lowest costs possible. 

Why finance and marketing don’t always get along well

One problem between these two areas of business is language, but an even more potent factor is that marketers fail to understand certain finance concepts. Marketing professionals need to know how to frame their communications to finance so it is more attuned to the finance professional’s mindset. 

Marketing people see increased business traffic and customer loyalty as a win for the business. However, when they propose marketing campaigns to finance for approval, they often fail to show actual dollar amounts and cash flow advantages of the proposed activities. 

How language plays a key role

It’s somewhat ironic that marketing CMOs often forget one of the most important rules of marketing when dealing with the CFO. That is to speak the language of the target audience. In order to succeed with a marketing proposal, the language needs to include figures of increased revenue versus expenditures over set time periods. 

The finance department will need a lot of specific information to make its decision, but this is data that the marketing department usually has, so this shouldn’t pose as a barrier to moving forward. For example, marketing has details about metrics, implementation and process. 

The next step is to educate the finance department about actions that will incentivize customers through the use of perception, feedback and mindshare. Marketing also measures online factors like site visits, email subscriptions and bounce rates. After all the specifics are added up, the next step is to calculate the total cost of acquiring new customers as a result of the changes to the marketing solutions. 

Pitching the proposal to finance

The marketing strategy details have been outlined in a way that finance can understand, but it still has to present the data in a way that is easy for the finance department understand. You could use tables or spreadsheets that finance professionals are familiar with in order to bring the message home and seal the deal. 

Marketing is important for all aspects of a business. That’s why marketing and finance professionals need to work together seamlessly. This can be accomplished when both sides adopt the mindset and presentation styles of the other. When everyone understands each other, the business can make better decisions.

What Percentage of Your Income Should You be Saving Every Month

If you are attuned to your financial health, you may be well aware that personal finance experts advise you about the importance of regular savings. Savings balances are directly correlated to personal debt and financial security. As savings balances increase, personal debts decrease. If you want to improve your financial health and well-being, it makes sense to contribute to monthly savings goals. However, you may not know how much to save or how to get started. With a closer look at monthly savings goals and strategies, you can better determine how to allocate your funds.

How Much Money Should You Save Every Month?

One of the primary questions people ask regarding saving money is how much money should you save every month. The answer to this question varies substantially from person to person. Some people who start saving early may be comfortable saving ten percent of their income per month. If you start later in life, you may need to save 20 to 30 percent or more of your income each month. Many people initially save money in an emergency fund, and it is wise to have at least six to eight months’ of personal expenses saved in this account. After funding this account, many people then save money for retirement. Therefore, your financial need for an emergency fund as well as the number of years you have until retirement and your desired lifestyle in retirement will all play a role in how much money you should be saving each month.

Why Saving Early and Regularly Is So Important

The unfortunate reality is that saving money requires regular effort and a lot of hard work. You may have heard that starting to save early and regularly is important. However, you may be wondering why saving early and regularly is so important. You may need to save thousands of dollars in your emergency fund before you even start to think about retirement savings. It can take many months to save up that amount of money, depending on your current financial situation. The earlier you get started, the more money you will have later in life. More than that, when you save and invest early, you can benefit from compounded interest and dividend re-investments. These are ways to make your money work for you.

How to Start Saving More Money

The first step to save money is to determine your financial goals. As a starting point, determine how much money you want to save in an emergency fund. Then, allocate a portion of your monthly budget toward savings. Set up an automated account transfer that moves money into your savings account on a regular basis. Over time, you will see this balance grow. When it is at the desired level, re-allocate your monthly savings contributions into a retirement account. While getting started with a savings and investment plan can be frustrating, it can be one of the best steps you can take to set yourself on a path for improved financial security. Take time today to analyze your current personal finance status as well as your financial goals. By doing so, you can develop great savings plan to follow in the coming years.

Philanthropy Today: Bigger Gifts Given to Smaller Regions

The early 1980s ushered in a second Gilded Age, which resulted in the minting of a number of new millionaires and billionaires in the tech and finance industry. Whereas once a great deal of wealth was concentrated into a few major metropolitan areas such as New York, Boston, Chicago and the Bay Area, the second Gilded Age saw vast pockets of wealth is distributed more evenly across the country.

This wealth distribution led to a very interesting trend occurring in US philanthropy right now. In the past, major philanthropic contributions have largely gone to charities and organizations located in major metropolitan centers. Generally, the same places all the wealth was located. Now, with wealthy individuals being spread across the country, more and more philanthropic giving is happening in smaller urban centers and even rural areas.

Distribution of wealth = distribution of philanthropy

While the Forbes 400 list is home to more than enough billionaires who came into money as a result of more traditional industries like real estate, healthcare, energy, manufacturing or hospitality, they aren’t all centrally located into a few small regions like days gone by. For instance, Colorado is home to a whopping 10 billionaires cloistered within the state’s small borders, while Wisconsin boasts 8 and even the meagerly populated state of Arizona shelters another 6.

While billionaires, of course, have more than their fair share of philanthropic dollars to spread around, they are of course not the only individuals capable of creating real change with their financial largesse. In a report published by Wealth-X last year, there were in excess of 73,000 individuals of “ultra-net-worth.” According to the report, “ultra-net-worth” was defined as people possessing liquid assets in excess of $30 million. While the largest concentrations of these people were still found in the more traditional affluent cities of Los Angeles and New York, there were plenty of individuals populating smaller urban centers in less populous states such as Arizona, Minnesota and Michigan.

This distribution of wealth goes a long way towards explaining how so many smaller universities and regional cultural institutions are suddenly finding themselves the beneficiaries of some major contributions and raising money in record amounts. For instance, out of the 20 universities that received the most donations in 2017, 3 of them were state universities in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

Small players becoming national powerhouses

North Carolina, in particular, has seen a steep influx of wealthy residents moving in. This is in part thanks to the developing Research Triangle centered around the Raleigh-Durham and Chapel Hill region, but Charlotte and Mecklenburg County have also become a major financial center. One analysis showed that between the period of 2015 to 2015, the population of Mecklenburg residents with an annual income exceeding $1 million increased by 27 percent.

This sudden influx of wealth goes a long way towards explaining why the charitable Foundation For The Carolinas (FFTC) has suddenly become one of the biggest philanthropic powerhouses capable of competing on a national level. Established in 1958 on the basis of a $3,000 gift from the United Way, the tiny little local foundation that could has developed into a mighty locomotive boasting a whopping $2.5 billion in assets in 2017.

New strategies for the 21st Century

Some of this is due to the influx of wealth into the region but it also has to do with the strategy the foundation has used for getting that wealth in the door. About 5 years ago, the funder strayed from seeking the traditional donations of cash, stocks and real-estate and instead began to focus on local business owners who wanted to help their communities while still running their businesses. One example of this is a developer from Charlotte who started a sub-foundation through FFTC called the Crossland Foundation that is subsidized through the profits from his business.

Subsidiary foundations are making a huge difference, but not just with aging donors looking to make an impact before they retire or a way to contribute after retirement. Even young companies like MapAnything are creating small subsidiary foundations and pledging percentages of their equity to them. In 2017, nearly 29,000 grants were issued by the FFTC, with more than $420 million of funding going out the door. Their assets gained them a 6th place position on the list of largest community foundations, but their grants and contributions earned them a 2nd place on that list.

Small regional affiliate foundations help distribute grants and funding

Part of their success lies in their system of distributing resources via 13 regional affiliate foundations that concentrate their efforts on smaller cities and counties throughout the area. One of their most notable endeavors involved creating and funding the Opportunity Task Force to address some of the foundational issues that drove social tensions in the area following the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in 2016. logan sekulow

Regardless of whether you reside anywhere in or near the Carolinas, the FTTC is a foundation worth watching. The FTTC serves counties located in both North and South Carolina and is one of only a few such institutions that can boast such a successful track record leading to its phenomenal growth rate. Grants are awarded in such diverse areas as education, animal welfare, disaster relief, environmental concerns and even to religious institutions. The foundation manages dozens of competitive grant programs in addition to the charitable funds of more than 2,600 individuals, families, businesses and non-profits.

5 Ways To Get Your Kids Excited About Investing

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Every parent wants the best for their children, and this often includes financial security. Financially savvy parents often provide sufficient financial education for their kids throughout their time in the house. This may begin with a basic savings account and learning about the benefits of saving regularly, and it can grow into stock investing. Financial planning and personal finance are topics that many adults prefer to avoid altogether, and this can be a source of stress. However, when you talk to your kids about long term investments and financial security earlier in life, they can actually get excited about money. By following these steps, you may be able to get your kids excited about their financial investments. 

Encourage Them to Save Money For Their Own Investments

Saving money can generally be rather boring for kids, and it may even seem like a punishment to some. For example, if a child received money for allowance or as a birthday gift and you require the child to put half of that money into a savings account, he or she may feel punished because the money cannot be spent on their terms. However, when kids are permitted to save money for their own investment purchases, they may see a reason for their savings.

Let Them Research and Pick Their Own Stocks

Everyone likes to be in control of their money, and this includes kids. There are many ways to pick stocks, and you may want to save an earnings per share analysis or another similar form of analysis until kids are well into their teen years. Younger kids may be able to pick their stocks by choosing brands they are familiar with, reviewing stock charts on a basic level and looking at buy, sell or hold recommendations from experts. Of course, you should have the final say in their stock picks. You also should show them how dividends work and the benefits of choosing dividend stocks.

Make Investing a Regular Activity They Can Look Forward To

The best way to watch your child’s account grow is to make regular contributions. Consider setting up a regular time when you and your child sit down to make stock picks and to review account growth. By making investing a regular activity that you do together, you may find that he or she begins to enjoy this quality time with you.

Show Them How to Monitor Account Growth

Everyone loves to see their money grow, and this holds true for kids as well. Show your kids how to read their account information online. Clearly, show them the number of contributions they have made, their total balance and the current growth. Monitoring account growth is an excellent way to encourage kids to take a greater interest in their finances.

Use an Online Investment Growth Calculator to Project Their Future Wealth

Even children understand the importance and value of money on some level, and this knowledge expands as they get older. When you think your child has a solid grasp on how much things cost and how much money they may need when they get older, show them investment growth calculators online. These are excellent tools that can be used to determine your future account value if you continue to enjoy the same rate of growth and make the same regular contributions to your account. Many kids who start investing at an early age and who continue the activity into their young adult years can retire with financial security at a very young age.Finances and investments are common challenges for adults, and the unfortunate reality is that many adults were never formally educated by their parents about these matters. By teaching your child about finances

and by getting him or her excited about money; you are taking great strides to promote your child’s financial security.

Three Hot Stocks to Watch in December

3 Stocks That Are Rising and May Continue To Rise


There has much volatility in the stock market in 2018. But in spite of this, the S&P 500 is only up to a little more than 3% this year. Though that does not mean that there have not been stocks that have soared. These 3 stocks, in particular, have more than doubled during 2018, and some believe that they may continue to rise:

1. Twillo (NYSE:TWLO)

Twillo is a cloud platform that lets software companies send and receive phone calls and text messages programmatically in their apps. The stock is up a whopping 300% for the year, and with good reason. Their API has become standard for developers of web and mobile apps. This year alone, the number of software developers using Twillo has increased by more than 30%.

One of only a dozen stocks to quadruple in value this year, Twillo saw its revenue rise nearly 70% in its latest quarterly earnings. This was far ahead of expectations, and many expect that — with the holiday season upon us — the company will be able to keep up its momentum and perhaps even exceed it.

2. SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE:CVNA)

Seaworld is up an impressive 110% for the year. The venerable amusement park operator seems lightyears away from the 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” which made marine park operators punching bags for a variety of animal rights activists. While these activists have not completely gone away, customers have returned with a vengeance.

For the first time since the release of the film, both revenue and attendance are up at Seaworld, and they are up by considerable amounts. Attendance there is up nearly 10% for the year, outpacing other park operators, and revenue increases are even greater. Some analysts believe that this trend will continue in the near future. This is based on the fact that Seaworld’s competitors in the Southern California and Central Florida areas have been raising admission prices considerably. This will let SeaWorld do the same, especially as it is no longer feeling the heat from consumers it once felt.

3. New Age Beverages (NASDAQ:NBEV)

Rising 113% for the year, New Age Beverages has benefited from one of this year’s biggest investment trends: cannabis. The legalization of marijuana in various forms across the country has created lots of opportunities for aggressive companies. New Age Beverages began its sharp rise in September after it announced that it would introduce beverages that have been infused with cannabidiol (CBD).

At one time, the company’s stock had increased almost sixfold. While it has since lost about half of these gains, the company recently announced that it has acquired Morinda for $85 million. Morinda generates nearly $250 million in annual revenue, with its Tahitian Noni-Juice available in 60 countries around the world. Analysts think that the acquisition will help New Age Beverages expand its reach to new international markets. This along with the brand awareness the company received from its cannabis announcement could help New Age Beverages keep soaring.